Forest & Bird gets tough on vegetation clearance

21 Mar 2014

 In late February Forest & Bird was alerted to the ploughing of an area of grassland and kānuka shrubland on the terraces of the Upper Clutha River.

Forest & Bird considers that this area has very high ecological values and that the clearance required resource consent, which it understood had not been granted.

This matter has been raised on numerous occasions with the Queenstown Lakes District Council. Disappointingly the council took no action, which forced us to take the serious and unprecedented step of applying to the Environment Court for an interim order requiring that the clearance cease.

The court granted the order, noting the possibility of irreparable harm if it was not granted. Forest & Bird is also asking that the court require the developer to rehabilitate the site.   

 Forest & Bird has become aware of other incidents in recent months where developers have cleared significant dryland areas (now a highly vulnerable and threatened ecosystem) for irrigation, without consents, and where councils have failed to take action.  

Photo: Anne Steven